|De Niro, Stallone and Keitel|
The writing is something to behold here. Directed and written by James Mangold, the same man behind Walk the Line (2005), 3:10 to Yuma (2007) and most recently The Wolverine (2013), created a screenplay that not only defies the normal typecasts that most actors have, but also adds depth to the main character of Freddy Helfin. If it weren't for any of the background given to Stallone's character, the audience would have no idea about Heflin's past and why he acts the way he is in the movie. When it is revealed though, it's a heartfelt story that contains a lot of emotion. Even more interesting is how little Stallone uses a gun. Not only is Stallone overweight but he barely even raises his voice - which is rare. The character of Heflin is very self contained and covers it up well.
Also playing a role that is out his usual casting role is Ray Liotta. For anyone who's not familiar, Liotta frequently plays scumbags and creeps. A good example of this is from Unlawful Entry (1992) and a bad example is from Turbulence (1997). But what wasn't seen coming was Liotta playing not only a supporting character but also a tactical one. There is one scene where he explains to Stallone's character how he should take on convicted felons and the advice he gives is extremely noteworthy. Liotta, you should be doing this more often my friend. Along with him are Harvey Keitel, Robert De Niro, future director Peter Berg, Robert Patrick, Noah Emmerich from The Truman Show (1998) (how coincidental!), and just for laughs Mr. RoboCop 3 (1993) himself, Robert John Burke. All the actors, even the ones not mentioned do a fine job.
It's not your regular Stallone shoot 'em up and that's fine. The entire cast in the movie performs great. The music isn't complex but is well supported by a strong cast and character driven story.
Points Earned --> 9:10